Celebrating "Umoja", The First Day of Kwanzaa With Artist Synthia St. James
On Friday, December 26th at the Gaylord Hotel at the National Harbor in Prince George's County, Maryland, I was treated to a holiday brunch with renowned artist Synthia St. James in honor of Umoja (unity) the first of day of Kwanzaa. The food was marvelous as well as the discussion and history provided by Ms. St. James about her book entitled, "The Gifts of Kwanzaa" and the artwork/illustrations she has done surrounding it.
The book was published in 1994 yet still stands as a colorful and artistic testament to the celebration that we now know as Kwanzaa. The illustrations and artwork true to St. James colorful and bold artistic work. Because of the book and illustrations, the U.S. Postal Service commissioned Synthia to create artwork for the first stamp that celebrates the holiday. Synthia explained that one of the illustrations in the book served as the inspiration for the stamp artwork.
Ms. St. James autographed my complimentary book and we discussed being an artist. She was so gracious warm and inviting to talk to. I thank my twin sister, Sharon of Gemini Visions Art Studio, for treating me to this wonderful event.
I am an emerging self taught doll artist who is learning how to improve my craft. I started doll making 3 years ago and stopped due to entrepreneurial pursuits. Now with the help of my mentor Francine Haskins, I am beginning the craft again with much more vigor and interest. Please share this journey with me.